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Chavis puts himself and NAACP on the line to combat black-on-black violence

October 31, 1993|By Ann LoLordo | Ann LoLordo,Staff Writer

Ronald Walters, a political scientist at Howard University, doesn't expect the summit movement to achieve the peace it seeks without resources and recognition from the political establishment. And Dr. Chavis has to be "a band leader for this effort," he said.

"He has to take it all the way to the [Capitol] Hill and convince the president and Congress that they need that [economic] stimulus package and they need an urban policy," said Dr. Walters.

Unlike his pacts with corporate America to improve minority hiring, Dr. Chavis' alliance with gang summit leaders holds problems as well as promise. It has enabled him to forge an alliance with his once rival, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, of the Rainbow Coalition, and the controversial leader of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan, on this issue.

But peace among these so-called "nations" rests on transforming a segment of America's most dispossessed, thousands of young men who have found a sense of community in urban street clubs that pedal guns and drugs. They need education, jobs, a sense of belonging that doesn't involve wearing "colors" or flashing hand signals. Summit organizers, as well Dr. Chavis, hope a lasting peace will spark a new community spirit and economic empowerment of blacks.

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